What is Degenerative Joint Disease?
Also known as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease and its symptoms can occur in any joint, including the facet joints in the spine.
The spinal joints link the vertebrae, allowing them to bend and move. Over the years, the cartilage that covers the facet joints can wear down, causing the vertebrae to rub against each other. This may cause inflammation in the joints, bone spurs, and other degenerative spine conditions.
While this condition does not always produce symptoms, the inflammation in the joint or the bone spur can sometimes press against a nerve in the spine and result in pain and discomfort.
Common Degenerative Joint Disease Symptoms
Degenerative joint disease, when compressing a nerve, can cause pain and symptoms to develop not only in the area of the damaged joint but also along the nerve pathway. These shared symptoms include:
- A feeling of stiffness or soreness
- Localized pain at the site of the arthritic joint
- Pain that radiates along a nerve
The area of the damaged joint typically corresponds with radiating pain and symptoms in the body. For example, a degenerative joint in the lumbar spine can cause discomfort from the lower back down to the buttocks and legs. Likewise, a pinched nerve in the cervical spine can cause pain to radiate from the neck into the shoulders, arms, and hands.
Treatment with BEST
Initial treatment of degenerative joint disease is often conservative, meaning the treatment plan may include pain or anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, massage, and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or improving posture. These nonsurgical treatments are designed to reduce the symptoms, improve joint flexibility and promote overall health.
Conservative treatments are often effective for degenerative joint disease in the spine, but surgery can be possible in certain circumstances. If you have been enduring these treatments for several months and still suffer from pain and symptoms, reach out to BEST Health System.